Keeping the Culture Alive in Washington Missouri
Our country is a nation of immigrants, from every corner of the world. They came seeking political freedom and a better life for their families. From its beginning, Missouri was a mecca for German emigrants, who came in search of that dream, and built homes, raised families and shared their culture. The heritage of those early German emigrants is visible today. Missouri’s immigration issue began in the 1830s, when large groups of Germans arrived from Osnabrück, Soligen, and Giessen. The results of that can still be seen and felt today.
It can be found in the historic architecture of cities like Washington, Hermann, St. Charles, Augusta and St. Louis. It is experienced in the festivals and celebrations, from the Maifest to the Strassenfest, from Weihnachten to ChristkindleMarkts. It can be heard in a quiet German church, near Krakow, on a snowy Christmas, with a candlelight celebration. Perhaps you will experience it on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying music and wine in a hillside winery, in the Missouri Weinstrasse. Or see it in an old German family bible, carried and cherished, filled with notations of important chronicles of births and deaths.
Missouri’s Germans made a tremendous impact on U.S. during the Civil War when they kept the Confederate state for the Union! They risked their lives and using the drills they had learned in their youth at the Turnvereins, they saved the arsenals, the government and the Union. They risked their lives and their homes for being caught by slave patrols to help others obtain their freedom.
Missouri’s German Heritage is embodied in the stories of Germans from all walks of life, that came from small villages to huge cities, rich and poor. Their heritage makes us strong, determined, family orientated and patriotic. They have worked hard to build upon that dream, first spun by Gottfried Duden, who saw our State as the best opportunity to build a better life.
Keeping the Culture Alive by Slava Petreva Bowman for Explore Homeland